February 12 (UPI) — Houston police have identified a woman they say used an AR-15 with a “Palestine” sticker on Sunday inside Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Cathedral. A rifle was fired and then an off-duty police officer shot and killed her.
Her young son is “fighting for his life” after being caught in the crossfire.
Genes Yvonne Moreno, 36, shot She was escorted into the church by two off-duty police officers at 1:55 p.m. 7 year old son He was dragged away and shot shortly before a Spanish-language service at the church began, according to police.
Moreno’s son was shot in the head during a shootout with police. Houston Police Chief Troy Fenner said he is “fighting for his life” and is in critical condition.
Another man who was attending the church was shot in the leg and has since been released from the hospital.
Moreno was wearing a trench coat and carrying a backpack, which she claimed contained a bomb, and she was killed immediately. Police said no explosives were found during a search of the backpack and vehicle.
The officers “shot her in self-defense” after she pointed the weapon at them, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. search warrant Published Monday.
Doug Williams, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston field office, said without the “heroic” actions of the off-duty officers, “the toll would have been much higher.”
Police have not yet released information about which officer shot and wounded the child. Both officers have been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation.
“Our community is shocked by today’s events and is grateful for the swift action of law enforcement,” Osteen said. in a statement Sunday, “May God’s healing hands touch the lives of everyone involved and provide comfort during this difficult time.”
While investigators found some anti-Semitic texts and a “Palestinian” label on the weapon, police said an official motive for Sunday’s shooting had not yet been determined.
“We do believe there was a domestic dispute between her ex-husband and her ex-husband’s family,” police said, adding that some of her family members are Jewish.
Houston Homicide Commander Christopher Hassig told producers Monday that in addition to his mental health issues, Moreno also faces criminal charges including possession of marijuana, assault and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Investigators said Moreno acted alone. The AR-15 she was carrying was purchased legally. She also carried a .22 caliber rifle.